The Cambridge History of English and American Literature in 18 Volumes (1907–21).
VOLUME XV. Colonial and Revolutionary Literature; Early National Literature, Part I.
§ 22. William Smith; Samuel Smith
For the middle colonies we have two histories still remembered by posterity, a History of New York (1757), by William Smith and a History of New Jersey (1765) by Samuel Smith. The author of the former was a high official in New York and had much ability. He was a tory, and the unpopularity he acquired on that account was shared by his book. Unable to read Dutch, he had an inadequate idea of the early history of the colony; but for the English period the book has maintained an honourable position to this day. It is well written and, making due allowances, it is equal to the standard of historical literature in England before Hume. Samuel Smith was an industrious and conscientious Quaker, and his history was written from the point of view of the middle class of society. It is still regarded as reliable but the style is heavy.
In New England during this period political history did not engage the attention of historians as much as Indian history. Besides Gookin, whose unpublished history has been mentioned, three men deserve notice. One was the already noticed Rev. William Hubbard, whose General History of New England did not find a publisher until 1815. The earlier part is taken with the slightest amount of change from Morton’s Memorial and Winthrop’s journal. After these two sources are exhausted the book becomes meagre and inaccurate.